Rossi hopes he's "wrong" about Yamaha gains

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Rossi hopes he's
Jamie Klein
By: Jamie Klein
Sep 20, 2018, 5:01 PM

Valentino Rossi says he hopes he is proven “wrong” to be pessimistic about Yamaha’s chances in this weekend’s Aragon MotoGP round.

Yamaha is on the cusp of its worst-ever premier class losing streak, as the Aragon Grand Prix would mark the 23rd race in succession it has failed to win if neither Rossi nor teammate Maverick Vinales can triumph.

Despite his poor run of recent form, Vinales was in a buoyant mood when addressing the media on Thursday, claiming Yamaha had made a step forward with its long-standing electronics issues in a private test at Aragon in the last week of August.

“We focused on a lot on trying to set up the electronics for my riding style, and that helps so much, because I can ride my own way, I can do the laptimes,” he commented. “That was the only change we did.

“Still there is a lot of work to do, the race didn’t show our potential. We hope here to show what we can do.”

Rossi was more reserved when Vinales’ comments were put to him, saying he didn’t feel the Iwata marque had made a major step – but that he hoped his teammate’s optimism wasn’t misplaced.

He remarked: “For me, Yamaha works, something moves, something is modified, we have something different that is a little bit better.

“But unfortunately for me it’s not a big step. I hope I’m wrong and Maverick is right.

“Usually [Aragon] is a very slippery track, so the grip is not fantastic, and usually this means with the Yamaha we suffer a bit.

“Also it’s a big stress for the rear tyre, a lot of long corners, and under this point of view we suffer also.”

Rossi said at Misano that Yamaha could even have to consider a change in engine configuration for the future to keep up with rivals Honda and Ducati.

But the Italian was keen to emphasise that the engine is not the entirety of the issue for Yamaha and that the M1’s electronics can still be improved.

“The engine is a part of our problem, but unfortunately it’s not only the engine,” he said.

“It’s true that with these regulations, you cannot modify [the engine] during the season. But for me a lot of things come also from the electronics, and you can work on the electronics during the season, so it’s not a problem of the rules.

“For me we have to improve the engine, but it’s a part of our problem, not the total.”

Additional reporting by Oriol Puigdemont

Valentino Rossi, Yamaha Factory Racing

Valentino Rossi, Yamaha Factory Racing

Photo by: Gold and Goose / LAT Images

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